A study in the US has found that obese sufferers who are deficient in vitamin D get more osteoarthritis pain and have greatly reduced mobility.
It appears that Vitamin D is linked to obesity and osteoarthritis and these two things are often found in the same patient.
I have never worked out which is the chicken or the egg as if you have obese it put extra stress on the joint so may wear it quickly but then if you have OA it is difficult to exercise to reduce your weight.
Also you often find only one knee or hip affected in overweight people so it can’t just be the excess weight otherwise both would be affected.
Vit D Reduces Osteoarthritis Pain and Increases Mobility
The University of Florida conducted the study and people with low levels of Vitamin D. They found those with low level struggled to even go from sitting to standing and had more osteoarthritis pain.
The obese patients who had OA but adequate levels of Vitamin D could walk, balance, and move from sitting to standing with greater ease.
Dr Tony Glover the lead author said:
Adequate vitamin D may be significant to improving osteoarthritis pain because it affects bone quality and protects cell function to help reduce inflammation. Vitamin D maintains calcium and phosphate concentration levels to keep bones strong.
Increased pain due to osteoarthritis could limit physical activity, including outdoor activity, which would lead to both decreased vitamin D levels and increased obesity.
Personally I think that many people are deficient in Vitamin D and this was backed by another study by Creighton University University who have written to the Government asking for an increase in the recommended amount.
Researchers are challenging the intake of vitamin D recommended by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine saying their Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin D underestimates the need by a factor of ten.
Yes by TEN TIMES! Hardly a small increase!
What Does Vitamin D Do?
There are over 30,000 papers published citing the importance of Vitamin D for our physical and mental health. These are a few of the example of the importance of it:
1. Vitamin D can improve pregnancy outcomes, reducing risk of Cesarean section and preeclampsia
2. Lower risk of type 1 and 2 diabetes
3. Lower risk of heart disease and stroke
4. Improve Alzheimer’s, autism or other brain dysfunctions
5. Fight off viral or bacterial infections
6. Reduces the risk of cancer
7. Helps make bone so reduces the risk of osteoporosis (which is why you should not just take calcium without adequate Vitamin D)
and now it helps reduce osteoarthritis pain and improve the person’s mobility.
As all these are conditions that are drastically increasing in the modern world as our Vitamin D intake decreases.
Sources of Vitamin D
Sunlight! Yes that bad boy who gives you skin cancer and that is why I believe we are deficient in Vitamin D. As we all slip, slop, slap and wrap to protect ourselves we also reduce our Vitamin D. Basically sunlight makes our body synthesis Vitamin D.
Now don’t get me wrong I am not advocating we all go and fry ourselves. We should go outside in the cooler parts of the day or go out for short periods only. However in our household we only ever use suncream if we are going to be outside in the middle of the day for more than 30 minutes. The most important thing is not to burn. It is the burning of the skin that does the damage not sensible exposure to the sun.
There are very few foods that containing Vitamin D but many foods are fortified with it including bread and milk. It is also readily available as a supplement.
Don’t Overdose on Vitamin D to Reduce Your Osteoarthritis Pain
Vitamin D is fat soluble so can be stored. Therefore you can overdose on it and give yourself Vitamin D toxicity. This does not happen from exposure to sunlight as the body as regulates this naturally by degrading it as it makes it so balancing things. (Nature is clever isn’t it!).
It should be noted you can overdose on Vitamin D when using supplements so it is advisable to get a blood test done before you start taking a supplement.
Getting enough Vitamin D is a cheap and easy way to improve your osteoarthritis pain and improve your mobility. However do be sensible and don’t burn yourself to a crisp and get a blood test before you supplement.